Political instability is usually considered to be bad for business, but more than a year after the Arab uprisings began, a group of investors and entrepreneurs are finding new opportunities in the Middle East, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
“Now is a great time to buy assets,” said Marshall L. Stocker, a chartered financial analyst who works with a hedge fund based in Boston. “Conceptually, and in practice here, assets are falling in value.”
Stocker moved to Cairo in June 2010 but he fled after the mass protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak began on Jan. 25, 2011.
“In Egypt, cells were off, the Internet was off. Obviously there was no business to be done. I was barricaded in my apartment,” he told the Times. “I self-evacuated to the airport with tickets for three different flights.”
He returned to Cairo shortly after the fall of Mubarak, and says the country now offers good opportunities despite the disruptions.
While many risks remain associated with investing in the politically volatile environment of the region, waiting for too long could mean losing some lucrative opportunities.
Chuck Dittrich, executive director of the U.S.-Libya Business Association, said by the time they organized to be the first American group to go to Tripoli after the fall of Qaddafi’s regime they found that Turkish and European delegations have already arrived.
Naava Mashiah, the chief executive of M.E. Links, a consulting company based in Geneva, says those willing to take such risks are rewarded with more opportunities.
“There is a risk for business people who wait five years, but some come in right on the ground, like in Iraq,” she told the newspaper. “And they are reaping the profits.”